3. SOUNDBITE (English), AP reporter Maryclaire Dale: "So, Judge Steven O'Neill, who will be presiding at the trial, must decide how many – if any – other accusers can testify. Cosby is not charged with molesting them because their accusations are so long ago that they could not bring charges. However, the prosecutors hope to call them as prior bad act witnesses to say they were drugged and molested in a very similar fashion, something like a signature crime. The judge can allow that type of testimony, but it must be very similar and very specific. So that's why we're here today, for the judge to decide how many – if any – of these 13 other accusers that prosecutors have chosen to call, or hope to call, can indeed testify."
4 . SOUNDBITE (English), AP reporter Maryclaire Dale: "So the two sides have been arguing this morning about whether or not they should be using the names of the other accusers as they debate whether their testimony will be allowed at the trial. The defense says that most of them – 11 of the 13 – have given interviews on television, news articles, etc., and therefore he says it's silly, it's laughable – these are adult women, they've have made the decision to come forward. He believes they should be able to argue about their relevance by using their names. The prosecutor is saying that he (the defense lawyer) is trying to get their names out there while there's a lot of media in the courtroom and that he, the prosecutor, does not want these women subject to any potential harassment at this early stage. So there was a, it became quite heated, the judge said you have to act civilly in here. I think tempers did calm down ultimately. And the judge has not yet decided on whether or not they can testify. we're going to get to some of those arguments this afternoon."
5 . SOUNDBITE (English), AP reporter Maryclaire Dale: "So far, there have been no witnesses on the stand, and there may not be during this hearing. What we're hearing so far is, the lawyers are putting evidence into the record, or potential evidence. The defense is introducing large binders with information about each of the accusers. It ranges from their news interviews they may have given, police statements, Facebook posts, perhaps – any other information that points to what they say is the fact that their accusations are old, a little bit vague, not similar to accuser Andrea Constand's, and any information that they believe will disqualify them from testifying. The prosecution hopes to show that their accusations of allegedly being drugged and molested by actor Bill Cosby are very similar to Andrea Constand's and should be allowed to be used at trial as prior bad act evidence."
A judge admonished lawyers on both sides of Bill Cosby's sexual assault case Tuesday after a courtroom shouting match over the defense team's practice of publicizing the names of the women accusing the comedian of sexual assault.
Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill denounced the outburst as uncivil. It came at the start of what is expected to be a two-day hearing on whether prosecutors will be allowed to call 13 accusers as trial witnesses, a key part of their strategy to show the 79-year-old Cosby had a decadeslong habit of drugging and molesting women.
Cosby's lawyers want the accusers barred from testifying at his trial on charges that he sexually assaulted a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. The defense was expected to attack their credibility and relevance as they try to keep them off the witness stand.
They encountered an early setback Tuesday when O'Neill refused to hear from one of their experts, Elizabeth Loftus, a psychologist who has questioned the reliability of eyewitness and witness memory. The judge said Loftus wouldn't help him decide if the accusers can testify but added she might be allowed to take the stand at Cosby's trial next year.
The high-stakes hearing was testy from the start, as District Attorney Kevin Steele clashed with Cosby lawyer Brian McMonagle over the defense's insistence on identifying accusers by name in public documents and a court hearing.
Steele became enraged when McMonagle argued that prosecutors had provided him with the names of the accusers. Arguing that the names were disclosed during the pretrial discovery process and were not part of the public record, Steele suggested that Cosby's lawyers were publicizing them in an attempt to intimidate the women.
McMonagle said many of them had already gone public with their allegations.
O'Neill ultimately ruled Cosby's lawyers could identify 11 of the women by name. He said two of the women have remained out of the spotlight and shouldn't be identified in court.
The defense asserts they should be removed altogether from the case, which began a decade ago when Temple University employee Andrea Constand filed a police complaint against Cosby, her friend and mentor, over an encounter at his home. A prosecutor at the time declined to file charges.
But authorities reopened the case last year after scores of women raised similar accusations and after Cosby's damaging deposition testimony from Constand's lawsuit became public. The trial judge last week said the deposition was fair game at trial, arming prosecutors with Cosby's testimony about his affairs with young women, his use of quaaludes as a seduction tool and his version of the sexual encounter with Constand the night in question.
Cosby's lawyers had hoped to question the women in person, but O'Neill rejected the idea.
Some of the women had ongoing friendships or romantic relationships with Cosby, while others knew him for only a few days after meeting him on a plane or at a casino. Some, like Constand, took pills knowingly — she thought it was an herbal drug; he later said it was Benadryl — while others believe he slipped something stronger in their drinks.
McMonagle has petitioned to ask each accuser as many as 80 questions as he tries to defend what he calls decades-old, vague accusations that were never vetted at the time. The defense has also questioned the women's motivation, noting many are clients of celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred, who has suggested Cosby should put up a $100 million settlement fund for potential sexual assault and defamation claims.
O'Neill must walk a fine line in weighing their testimony, given a 2015 state Supreme Court ruling that threw out a Roman Catholic Church official's child-endangerment conviction because the Philadelphia trial judge let too many priest-abuse victims testify about the alleged church cover-up.
The AP doesn't typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they have come forward publicly, as Constand has done.